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Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce

Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce

Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce. So easy and even freezer friendly!

Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce

When I was 22 I worked at a locked down level 14 facility that housed juvenile delinquents. I was only there to work with one. A baby faced 12-year-old named Tyrell with dark chocolate skin and big brown eyes. His sweet spirit and quiet voice made it impossible for me to believe that this was the kid that had been locked up in Baby Jail for 6 months due to assault, then moved to locked down half-way house before he could go back into foster care. He was just way too gentle.

Filling out the initial forms I asked him about himself. I asked him to pick three words that described himself. He didn’t hesitate, "Male. Athletic. Japanese." He might not have thought twice but I did, he was clearly African-American.


"Oh. Yeah. I’ve been in foster care since birth and no one knows who my bio parents are. So it’s possible. I could be Japanese. It’s possible. And I feel Japanese. konichiwa!" The last word was accompanied by an exaggerated bow.

"It’s definitely possible," I smiled at how completely endearing it was.

I made a deal with him. If he agreed to work with me on anger management skills, on Fridays I’d bring him something to explore his Japanese culture. He was thrilled. We tried out Origami, we went through an English-Japanese dictionary to learn words, we played mahjong and drew Japanese cartoons. Then we came to the idea of food. I explained different dishes, each of which were met by a horrified expressions. "I only been eating group home food. I never heard of none of that." Despite his completely institutionalized palate, he wanted to try some japanese flavors. After a lengthy discussion we decided to just try some sauces, sampled with his favorite food: chicken nuggets. 

The following week I brought him 16 chicken nuggets along with Ponzu sauce, Wasabi mayonnaise, Hoisin sauce, taberu rayu, and a variety of other condiments. He wasn’t impressed. Other than the hoisin, he didn’t sample any more than once. He was disappointed that his taste buds rejected the idea that his relatives were from Japan, "Well," he sighed, "Maybe I’m only half Japanese." 

Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce-2


Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce


    For the chicken:
  • 1 lbs chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pale ale
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs Olive oil
  • Olive oil spray
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbs pale ale
  • 1 tbs garlic chili sauce


  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl.
  2. Cover with buttermilk and 1 cup beer, stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 8.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with aluminum foil and dizzling with an even layer of 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.
  5. In a small bowl stir together the flour, panko, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  6. One at a time remove the chicken cubes from the buttermilk, toss in the panko mixture until well coated. Gently dip back in the butter milk mixture and then toss again in the panko mixture.
  7. Place on a prepared baking sheet.
  8. Spray gently with olive oil spray.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over, bake until cooked through about an additional 10 minutes.
  10. In a small bowl stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons beer, ¼ cup honey and garlic chili sauce.
  11. Serve the chicken bites with sauce on the side.


These freeze well. Just cook them completely, allow them to cool and then transfer to a gallon sized freezer zip lock bag. Freeze for up to three weeks. Once ready to eat, cook for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven or until warmed through.

I use the Chili Garlic Sauce from Huy Fong foods, it can be found in most supermarkets in the Asian foods section (affiliate link).

I also use this Olive Oil Sprayer, it’s perfect if you want to avoid using cooking spray. (affiliate links)

Baked Buttermilk Beer Popcorn Chicken with Honey Beer Dipping Sauce

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creeko January 16, 2015 um 3:36 am

Great story, hope the guy did well! Now I feel like having Chicken Nuggets though.


Heather [BeerBitty] January 16, 2015 um 6:38 am

I absolutely love your stories. And these looks delicious!


sandra January 16, 2015 um 8:39 am

Made this for dinner last night. So good!!


Susan January 16, 2015 um 9:26 am

This recipe sounds great. I have to confess that I might not have looked at the recipe except I had to read the story of Tyrell… Wonderful story, and I’m certain you had a positive effect on his life.


Allison Day January 17, 2015 um 12:08 am

I adore your stories, and I love how he was so committed to his Japanese identity!


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